Tobruk - Motion Picture Soundtrack CD Review

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Reviewed by Chris McEneany, 10th November 2010.
Even though his work on Tobruk came at the end of his composing career, this fantastic score represents the elements that made Bronislau Kaper so distinctive and influential. As a war film, Arthur Hiller's epic is not a classic on a par with say, A Bridge Too Far, The Great Escape or The Longest Day, but it is compellingly told and highlighted by a surprising emphasis on characters, although the action, when it comes, is exciting and well-choreographed, literally sizzling during the fiery final act. Kaper's contribution to the film is powerful, strident and actually quite dark and eerie in a way that most war film scores are not. His main theme is memorable not only in its direct and heroic mode, but in its multitude of variations, Kaper allowing it to mesmerise the listener and to colour the score in a rich tapestry of orchestral conflagration.

Intrada's terrific release sounds amazing with a brisk stereo image and that unique, original and unmolested sound that their engineers specialise in reproducing – no noise reduction programs have been brought in to sharpen-up or purge the newly created two-track mixes, meaning the glorious ambience of Kaper's recording shines through.

Tobruk is limited to only 2000 copies worldwide, but this is an important score from a sorely neglected, though highly influential composer. It is, therefore, hugely recommended.

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